How are other cities dealing with dog attacks?
CREATED Mar 9, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - An elderly Pima County woman is still in the hospital Friday after a pair of pit bulls attacked her, according to animal control, earlier this week. The 89-year-old is now listed in fair condition. This most recent local dog attack is one of many in recent years leaving people--including children--harmed or killed. One Tucson attorney points out: our community isn't alone.
“There have been a proliferation of dog attacks particularly by dogs that are known to be vicious,” said Ted Schmidt, managing partner at Kinerk, Schmidt and Sethi.
Schmidt represents dog attack victims and said cases are on the rise here and worldwide. “I think we're seeing that more and more people own these dogs,” he told 9 On Your Side.
He said different places are trying different things to prevent attacks, like Wednesday's in Pima County. “In Ontario, Canada, for example, you're not allowed to own pit bulls,” he said. “They're not allowed in the province.” In a 9 On Your Side investigation last month, we contacted five U.S. cities that banned pit bulls to see if there was a decrease in bites and attacks. We found there's no conclusive evidence such a ban always works.
Another option: “There's a law in Nebraska that requires, if you're going to own a pit bull, you have to have a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance that would cover any injuries caused by that dog,” Schmidt said.
9 On Your Side also explored dog attack victims’ rights in Arizona, Tucson and other places earlier this week.
In other places, Schmidt said, the law is more extreme: “In Australia, there's a law that requires you to register a pit bull and if a pit bull is found unregistered, the authorities are authorized to euthanize it immediately.”
Schmidt personally pushes for measures educating owners of dogs that are known to be or are potentially dangerous as part of the registration process.
“What should an owner of one those dogs know?” Keen asked Schmidt about a dog that is known to be or is potentially dangerous. “What they need to know is that these dogs are very vicious, they're very unpredictable,” he answered. “They have to take extra care to make sure that they are secure in their home.”
Arizona passed a law last year, increasing penalties for owners of dogs considered to be "vicious." Schmidt’s personal thoughts on the law: “That law requires that the owner have knowledge that the dog has, in fact, attacked or bitten somebody before it goes into effect. What needs to happen, at a minimum is that the law require that there is criminal liability for even the first attack by a dog that is of a breed that is known to have this unpredictable, dangerous, vicious propensity.”
9 On Your Side wants to know what you think. Should laws change to help prevent vicious dog attacks? Should owners change their ways? Or, is any change even needed at all? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.